Updated at 6:15 p.m. ET with more reporting on Ryan's remarks on the stimulus.
(CBS News) In his rousing
The claim: Obama is responsible for the closing of the GM plant in Janesville
Ryan in his speech suggested that the General Motors plant in his hometown in Janesville, Wis., remains shuttered because President Obama failed to keep his promise to retool the the auto industry.
Here's what Ryan said:
"My home state voted for President Obama. When he talked about change, many people liked the sound of it, especially in Janesville, where we were about to lose a major factory.
A lot of guys I went to high school with worked at that GM plant. Right there at that plant, candidate Obama said: "I believe that if our government is there to support you ... this plant will be here for another hundred years." That's what he said in 2008.
Well, as it turned out, that plant didn't last another year. It is locked up and empty to this day. And that's how it is in so many towns today, where the recovery that was promised is nowhere in sight."
Ryan references a speech Mr. Obama delivered at the Janesville plant on Feb. 13, 2008. (The full transcript of the speech is here.)
Mr. Obama did say: "I believe that if our government is there to support you, and give you the assistance you need to re-tool and make this transition, that this plant will be here for another hundred years. The question is not whether a clean energy economy is in our future, it's where it will thrive. I want it to thrive right here in the United States of America; right here in Wisconsin; and that's the future I'll fight for as your President."
As some fact checkers have noted, the plant closed before Mr. Obama took office.
The plant's last full shift was on Dec. 23, 2008, and the Associated Press documented the tear-filled day in detail. As some conservative sites have noted, the plant produced a limited number of vehicles up until mid-2009.
After it was reported in October 2008 that GM was speeding up the plant's closure, Mr. Obama said this in an October 11, 2008 campaign statement: "This news is also a reminder that Washington needs to finally live up to its promise to help our automakers compete in our global economy. As president, I will lead an effort to retool plants like the GM facility in Janesville so we can build the fuel-efficient cars of tomorrow and create good-paying jobs in Wisconsin and all across America."
A General Motors spokesperson told CBS News today that the plant was idled in December 2008 because of a decline in demand for SUVs due to rising gas prices.
President George W. Bush first approved $17.4 billion in auto bailout loans on Dec. 19, 2008, but it was too late to save the Janesville plant. Mr. Obama extended the bailout after he took office, and some analysts have claimed more than 1 million jobs were saved by the bailout.
Asked if there was anything Mr. Obama could have done to reverse that decision when he took office in January 2009, the GM spokeswoman said, "from a business perspective, it was a done deal. I don't think I can add anymore."
Asked how the company feels about being mentioned in Ryan's speech, the spokeswoman said, "GM recognizes that we're going to be a political football this season. Would we have preferred not to be in there? Sure. But there's not much we can do about it."
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